A War on Thanksgiving?

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So now there is apparently a war on Thanksgiving and people are offended that people are out shopping?

Is it anyone’s job to tell others how they must be thankful? Maybe shopping is how some people show their gratitude for the wealth in their pockets, however meager that wealth may be. Not everyone has families to spend Thanksgiving with, and shopping is no worse than watching football all day.

FDR changed Thanksgiving so that the Christmas shopping season would be extended and it would help (big) business. FDR!!! This idea that consumerism on holidays is a new thing is just not true. Americans have always been about consumerism, and in fact, consumerism is our National Religion.

So, lighten up and enjoy yourself, and let others enjoy themselves however they see fit. If the premise is that shopping is some hollow pursuit that leaves people empty when they are finished, then that is something that people have to experience it for themselves. We cannot experience that for them, and until they experience for themselves, they will never understand that. But keep in mind that just because it may seem like an empty experience for me, it may not be for someone else. So who am I to decided for them that my experience is better or more real then theirs?

I have a friend who lost his wife, his kids, his electricity, his means of support and paying for food and other necessities, his home, and eventually any ability to take care of himself on any level. After all that, he still was not sure that drugs were all that bad. It wasn’t until he was resuscitated on a table in an ER after dying from an overdose that he came to the conclusion that drugs may not be such a good thing after all. It takes what it takes, and this is true for consumers as well as for anyone else regarding anything else.

So again I say lighten up and enjoy yourself. If you are so offended that others are shopping on Thanksgiving, then the problem is not shoppers, or corporations, or even consumerism. The problem is that you make other people the determiners of your own happiness. The problem is that you have decided that you cannot be happy unless everyone else in the world behaves in a manner that you have determined for them. The problem is that you are being selfish, self-centered, and ego-maniacal. The problem is that you are playing God and setting rules for others to follow, and then you punish yourself by robbing yourself of happiness when others (you have never met and never will meet) do not live according to your pronouncements.

But the good news is, you can enjoy this Thanksgiving regardless of what anyone else is doing. All you have to do is to decide that the holiday is not about you, and what everyone else decides to do on their holiday is none of your business. And if you really want to have the best Thanksgiving ever, then wherever you go today, ask yourself “What can I do to help?” and “What can I do to make this a better experience for everyone else?”  Set out to make others happy this Thanksgiving and that happiness will spill over onto you as well.

Personally, I am thankful for the simple act of gratitude — because when you have very little, and you are grateful for it, then somehow, you always have enough.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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One comment

  1. […] A War on Thanksgiving? (rjowles.wordpress.com) […]

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